More on the personality thing.
There was a moment today when a thought occured to me, a thought that—upon reflection—I’ve had many times over the years, particularly in the workplace. It seems, much of the time, that I tend to operate on a completely different wavelength from most of those around me. It’s like there’s something I don’t “get” that everyone else around me does. At times, when people talk to me (like a former boss I mentioned in a previous post, who wanted me to show more “ownership”) even though they’re speaking english, it’s like they’re speaking another language that I don’t begin to understand; like I’m on some other frequency and I can’t tune into the one everyone else is on.
I’ve seen it register, too, on the faces of the people I interact with, when they begin to wonder if they’re getting through to me. Then they figure they aren’t getting through to me, and they wonder why. I’ve often joked about being a “Type B” in a world of “Type As”, but there really does seem to be some disconnect, some non-meeting of the minds between me and a lot of people. I guess it’s a matter of just being very different in our basic approaches to the world. And trying to translate and interpret between those two approaches is sometimes like trying to reach through a two-foot thick wall of gauze. Frustrating and eventually exhausting. And most of the time it seems like I’m the one who has to stretch to understand and translate into the frequency or wavelength of those around me, because the truth is—at least in this culture— I am, and people like me are, out-numbered.
It seems almost too simplistic to pare it down to “Type A, Type B, Type C” personality contiuum. Yet at the same time there seems to be something to it. I think being in D.C. and working in and around politics kind of underscores it for me, because I work in a city and in a field that tends to attract a lot of people who are driven and ambitious, and who have accomplished a lot because of their drive and ambition. Then there’s me. If I was drawn to live and work in a political city, it’s because I’m an idealist I want to make a diference, but I can honestly say I’ve never been terribly driven (except to distraction). Most of the time, much of what I do isn’t done with a sense of urgency. I can’t honestly say I’ve ever been amitious (maybe I was at some young age, but quickly lost that trait). I’ve always recoiled from competition. So maybe there is something to that whole personality type thing, even if it’s a little too pat to be the sole answer.
I chatted with the hubby about it this evening, as I often do when stuff like this occurs to me. Given that we’re very different people in many ways, I was interested in hearing his take on what I’d been pondering during the day. His take was that I do operate on a different wavelength than most other people, and that working in and around politics would make the difference more stark at times. Then, of course, he said if I’d been the highly ambitious, driven, competitive type, he probably wouldn’t have been initially attracted to me. So, what ever it is that makes me different, at least its something he loves about me. For my part, I don’t love or hate whatever it is that seems to make me different from the people around me. I guess I’m just beginning to understand it and trying to wrap my brain around it. Then there’s the business of trying to figure out where and how I fit into a culture that doesn’t seem to have an obvious place for me.